If you are a party to a registered domestic partnership and you wish to terminate (dissolve) the partnership, there are two different methods you can use. In certain circumstances, if all the requirements are met, partners may terminate a registered domestic partnership by preparing and filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership form with the California Secretary of State. However, if one party objects to this manner, or you do not meet all the criteria to dissolve your partnership with a Notice of Termination, you will need to file a Petition and Summons with the Superior Court in your area.
The 13 Requirements to File a Notice of Termination with the Secretary of State
Each of the following statements must be true in order to terminate your RDP with a Notice through the Secretary of State. Even if only one of the statements is not true, the domestic partnership cannot be terminated with the California Secretary of State and a petition with a California Superior Court to dissolve the domestic partnership must be filed.
- Parties must read a brochure located at the following link: TERMINATING A CALIFORNIA REGISTERED DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
- Both parties want to terminate the domestic partnership.
- You were not registered domestic partners for more than 5 years.
- There are no minor children born prior to or during the domestic partnership.
- There are no adopted minor children during the domestic partnership.
- Neither party is pregnant.
- There is no real property owned by either party (homes, land, etc.).
- There are no leases or rentals of land or property other than where both or either party is currently living and any such lease ends within 12 months of filing the termination.
- Collectively, the parties have less than $6,000 in debts (excluding automobile loans).
- Collectively the parties own property valued at less than $47,000 (excluding automobiles AND loans).
- Neither party owns more than $47,000 in separate property each (excluding automobiles AND loans).
- You have prepared and signed a property settlement agreement prior to submitting the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership form that states how community property possessions and community obligations will be divided (OR that states that no community property or community debt have been accumulated).
- You both agree that you do not want money or support from the other partner except what is included in the property settlement agreement dividing the community property and community obligations.
If each and every one of these statements is true, you may file a Notice of Termination with the Secretary of State to terminate you registered domestic partnership. Once the Notice to Terminate is filed, either party may file a notice of revocation (Cancelation) of the termination within 6 months of the filing of the notice to terminate, for any reason. If this happens, and you still want to dissolve your domestic partnership, then you will be required to file a petition and summons with the Superior Court to terminate your RDP. Once the six month waiting period has passed, however, the notice of termination cannot be canceled or undone unless you can show that your RDP did not meet all of the 13 requirements, you were deceived or misled about the property settlement, you signed the notice of termination against your will, or property was omitted and/or there were major errors in your property settlement agreement. If any of these factor exist, you should consult an attorney right away.
Dissolution of Domestic Partnership by Petition with the Superior Court
If all 13 of the requirements described above for terminating your domestic partnership with the California Secretary of State are not met, a petition must be filed with a California Superior Court in order to dissolve the domestic partnership. A Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership is a formal request by one partner to the Superior Court asking the court to dissolve the domestic partnership. Once you have started the process, it will take at least six months for the court to dissolve the domestic partnership and enter a judgment in a Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership. In many cases it takes longer than six months. The time it takes will depend on your particular situation and on how well you and your partner cooperate in the process.
If you are also married, in addition to being Registered Domestic Partners, you will also need to file a Petition with the Court to dissolve your marriage. Otherwise, your RDP can be terminated, but you will still be legally married to your spouse/partner. A Petition for Dissolution of Domestic Partnership and Marriage is the formal request by one partner/spouse to a California Superior Court for the court to dissolve both the domestic partnership and the marriage during the same proceeding. Until both the domestic partnership and marriage is dissolved, and you are restored to the status of unpartnered persons, you will not be allowed to enter into another domestic partnership or a marriage.